History of Russia: Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia was the centralized Russian state from the assumption of the title of Tsar by Ivan IV in 1547 until the foundation of the Russian Empire by Peter I in 1721. From 1551 to 1700, Russia grew by 35,000 km2 per Year. The period includes the upheavals of the transition from the Rurik to the Romanov dynasties, wars with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden and the Ottoman Empire, and the Russian conquest of Siberia, to the reign of Peter the Great, who took power in 1689 and transformed the Tsardom into a European power. During the Great Northern War, he implemented substantial reforms and proclaimed the Russian Empire after victory over Sweden in 1721.
Table of Contents / Timeline
Ivan IV becomes the first Tsar of RussiaDormition Cathedral, Moscow
Siege of KazanKazan, Russia
Astrakhan Khanate conqueredAstrakhan, Russia
The Khanate of Astrakhan, also referred to as the Xacitarxan Khanate, was a Tatar state that arose during the break-up of the Golden Horde. Ivan defeated and annexed the Khanate of Kazan on the middle Volga in 1552 and later the Astrakhan Khanate, where the Volga meets the Caspian Sea. These victories transformed Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state, which it continues to be today. The tsar now controlled the entire Volga River and gained access to Central Asia. The new Astrakhan fortress was built in 1558 by Ivan Vyrodkov to replace the old Tatar capital. The annexation of the Tatar khanates meant the conquest of vast territories, access to large markets and control of the entire length of the Volga River. Subjugating Muslim khanates turned Muscovy into an empire.
Livonian War beginsEstonia and Latvia
The Livonian War (1558–1583) was fought for control of Old Livonia (in the territory of present-day Estonia and Latvia), when the Tsardom of Russia faced a varying coalition of the Dano-Norwegian Realm, the Kingdom of Sweden, and the Union (later Commonwealth) of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland.
Battle of ErgemeĒrģeme, Latvia
The Battle of Ērģeme was fought on 2 August 1560 in present-day Latvia (near Valga) as part of the Livonian War between the forces of Ivan IV of Russia and the Livonian Confederation. It was the last battle fought by the German knights in Livonia and an important Russian victory. The knights were defeated so thoroughly that the order had to be dissolved.
Oprichnina: Purge of NoblesNovgorod Republic
The Oprichnina was a state policy implemented by Tsar Ivan the Terrible in Russia between 1565 and 1572. The policy included mass repression of the boyars (Russian aristocrats), including public executions and confiscation of their land and property. In this context it can also refer to:
- The notorious organization of six thousand Oprichniki, the first political police in the history of Russia.
- The portion of Russia, ruled directly by Ivan the Terrible, where his Oprichniki operated.
- The corresponding period of Russian history.
Russo-Turkish War (1568–1570)Azov, Russia
Fire of MoscowMoscow, Russia
The Fire of Moscow occurred when the Crimean and Turkish army (8,000 Crimean Tatars, 33,000 irregular Turks and 7,000 janissaries) led by the khan of Crimea Devlet I Giray, bypassed the Serpukhov defensive fortifications on the Oka River, crossed the Ugra River, and rounded the flank of the 6,000-man Russian army. The sentry troops of Russians were crushed by the Crimean-Turkish forces. Not having forces to stop the invasion, the Russian army retreated to Moscow. The rural Russian population also fled to the capital. After defeating the Russian army, the Crimean-Turkish forces besieged the town Moscow, because in 1556 and 1558 Muscovy, violating the oath given to the Giray dynasty, attacked the lands of the Crimean Khanate — Moscow troops invaded the Crimea and burned villages and towns in the Western and Eastern Crimea, with many Crimean Tatars captured or killed. The Crimean Tatar and Ottoman forces set the suburbs on fire on 24 May and a sudden wind blew the flames into Moscow and the city went up in a conflagration. According to Heinrich von Staden, a German in the service of Ivan the Terrible (he claimed to be a member of the Oprichnina)," the city, the palace, the Oprichnina palace, and the suburbs burned down completely in six hours.
Battle of MolodiMolodi, Russia
Russian conquest of SiberiaSiberia, Russia
Ivan killed his oldest sonMoscow, Russia
Livonian War endsPlyussa, Russia
The Treaty or Truce of Plussa was a truce between Russia and Sweden, which ended the Livonian War (1558-1583). The truce was signed on 10 August 1583 at the Plyussa River north of the city of Pskov. According to the truce, Sweden kept the annexed Russian towns of Ivangorod (Ivanslott), Jamburg, Koporye (Kaprio) and Korela (Kexholm/Käkisalmi) with their uyezds, holding control over Ingria. Russia kept a narrow passage to the Baltic Sea at the estuary of the Neva River, between Strelka and Sestra Rivers.
Archangelsk foundedArkhangelsk, Russia
Death of Ivan IVMoscow, Russia
Russo-Swedish War (1590–1595)Narva, Estonia
Boris Godunow elected Tsar of RussiaMoscow, Russia
Russian famine of 1601–1603Russia
Polish–Muscovite War (1605–1618)Zaraysk, Russia
Battle of KlushinoKlushino, Russia
Polish Occupation of MoscowMoscow, Russia
On 31 January 1610 Sigismund received a delegation of boyars opposed to Shuyski, who asked Władysław to become the tsar. On 24 February Sigismund sent them a letter in which he agreed to do so, but only when Moscow was at peace. The combined Russian and Swedish armies were defeated on 4 July 1610 at the battle of Klushino. After the news of Klushino spread, support for Tsar Shuyski almost completely evaporated. Żółkiewski soon convinced the Russian units at Tsaryovo, which were much stronger than the ones at Kłuszyn, to capitulate and to swear an oath of loyalty to Władysław.
In August 1610 many Russian boyars accepted that Sigismund III was victorious and that Władysław would become the next tsar if he converted to Eastern Orthodoxy. After a few skirmishes, the pro-Polish faction gained dominance, and the Poles were allowed into Moscow on 8 October. The boyars opened Moscow's gates to the Polish troops and asked Żółkiewski to protect them from anarchy. The Moscow Kremlin was then garrisoned by Polish troops commanded by Aleksander Gosiewski.
Battle of MoscowMoscow, Russia
RomanovsTrinity Lavra of St. Sergius,
End of Ingrian WarPskov, Russia
Polish–Russian War endsRussia
The Truce of Deulino was signed on 11 December 1618 and took effect on 4 January 1619. It concluded the Polish–Muscovite War (1605–1618) between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Tsardom of Russia. The agreement marked the greatest geographical expansion of the Commonwealth (0,99 million km²),which lasted until the Commonwealth conceded the loss of Livonia in 1629. The Commonwealth gained control over the Smolensk and Chernihiv Voivodeships. The truce was set to expire within 14.5 years. The parties exchanged prisoners, including Filaret Romanov, Patriarch of Moscow. Władysław IV, son of Commonwealth king Sigismund III Vasa, refused to relinquish his claim to the Moscow throne.
Smolensk WarSmolensk, Russia
Khmelnytsky UprisingLviv, Ukraine
The Khmelnytsky Uprising was a Cossack rebellion that took place between 1648 and 1657 in the eastern territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, which led to the creation of a Cossack Hetmanate in Ukraine. Under the command of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, the Zaporozhian Cossacks, allied with the Crimean Tatars and local Ukrainian peasantry, fought against Polish domination and against the Commonwealth forces. The insurgency was accompanied by mass atrocities committed by Cossacks against the civilian population, especially against the Roman Catholic clergy and the Jews.
Battle of KorsuńKorsun-Shevchenkivskyi, Ukrain
The Russo-Swedish War of 1656–1658 was fought by Russia and Sweden as a theater of the Second Northern War. It took place during a pause in the contemporary Russo-Polish War (1654-1667) as a consequence of the Truce of Vilna. Despite initial successes, Tsar Alexis of Russia failed to secure his principal objective—to revise the Treaty of Stolbovo, which had stripped Russia of the Baltic coast at the close of the Ingrian War.
By the end of 1658, Denmark was knocked out of the Northern Wars and the Ukrainian Cossacks under Khmelnytskyi's successor, Ivan Vyhovsky, allied themselves with Poland, changing the international situation drastically and inducing the tsar to resume the war against Poland as soon as possible. When the term expired, Russia's military position in the Polish war had deteriorated to such a point that the tsar could not allow himself to be involved into a new conflict against powerful Sweden. His boyars had no other choice but to sign in 1661 the Treaty of Kardis (Kärde), which obliged Russia to yield its Livonian and Ingrian conquests to Sweden, confirming the provisions of the Treaty of Stolbovo.
Battle of ChudnovChudniv, Ukraine
End of Russo-Polish WarAndrusovo, Russia
The Truce of Andrusovo (Polish: Rozejm w Andruszowie, Russian: Андрусовское перемирие, Andrusovskoye Pieriemiriye, also sometimes known as Treaty of Andrusovo) established a thirteen-and-a-half Year truce, signed in 1667 between the Tsardom of Russia and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, which had fought the Russo-Polish War since 1654 over the territories of modern-day Ukraine and Belarus. Afanasy Ordin-Nashchokin (for Russia) and Jerzy Chlebowicz (for the Commonwealth) signed the truce on 30 January/9 February 1667 in the village of Andrusovo not far from Smolensk. Representatives of the Cossack Hetmanate were not allowed.
Stenka Razin RebellionChyorny Yar, Russia
Russo-Turkish WarChyhyryn, Ukraine
The Russo-Turkish War of 1676–1681, a war between the Tsardom of Russia and Ottoman Empire, caused by Turkish expansionism in the second half of the 17th century. After having captured and devastated the region of Podolia in the course of the Polish–Turkish War of 1672–1676, the Ottoman government strove to spread its rule over all of the Right-bank Ukraine with the support of its vassal (since 1669), Hetman Petro Doroshenko. The latter’s pro-Turkish policy caused discontent among many Ukrainian Cossacks, which would elect Ivan Samoilovich (Hetman of the Left-bank Ukraine) as a sole Hetman of all Ukraine in 1674.
End of Russo-Turkish WarBakhchisaray
The Treaty of Bakhchisarai was signed in Bakhchisaray, which ended the Russo-Turkish War (1676–1681), on 3 January 1681 by Russia, the Ottoman Empire, and the Crimean Khanate. They agreed to a 20-year truce and had accepted the Dnieper River as the demarcation line between the Ottoman Empire and Moscow's domain. All sides agreed not to settle the territory between the Southern Bug and Dnieper rivers. After the signing of the treaty, the Nogai hordes still retained the right to live as nomads in the southern steppes of Ukraine, while the Cossacks retained the right to fish in the Dnieper and its tributaries; to obtain salt in the south; and to sail on the Dnieper and the Black Sea. The Ottoman sultan then recognized Muscovy's sovereignty in the Left-bank Ukraine region and the Zaporozhian Cossack domain, while the southern part of the Kiev region, the Bratslav region, and Podolia were left under Ottoman control. The Bakhchisaray peace treaty once again redistributed land between neighboring states. The treaty was also of great international significance and stipulated the signing of “Eternal Peace” in 1686 between Russia and Poland.
Great Turkish WarVienna, Austria
The Great Turkish War or the Wars of the Holy League was a series of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Holy League consisting of the Holy Roman Empire, Poland-Lithuania, Venice, Russia, and Habsburg Hungary. Intensive fighting began in 1683 and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699. The war was a defeat for the Ottoman Empire, which for the first time lost large amounts of territory. It lost lands in Hungary and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, as well as part of the western Balkans. The war was also significant in that it marked the first time Russia was involved in a western European alliance. The War was ended with the Treaty of Constantinople of 1700. The treaty ceded the Azov region to Peter the Great.
Crimean campaignsOkhtyrka, Ukraine
Grand Embassy of Peter the GreatEurope
Great Northern WarEastern Europe
St Petersburg FoundedSt. Petersburgh, Russia
Swedish colonists built Nyenskans, a fortress at the mouth of the Neva River in 1611, which was later called Ingermanland, which was inhabited by Finnic tribe of Ingrians. The small town of Nyen grew up around it. At the end of the 17th century, Peter the Great, who was interested in seafaring and maritime affairs, wanted Russia to gain a seaport to trade with the rest of Europe. He needed a better seaport than the country's main one at the time, Arkhangelsk, which was on the White Sea in the far north and closed to shipping during the winter. The city was built by conscripted peasants from all over Russia; a number of Swedish prisoners of war were also involved in some years under the supervision of Alexander Menshikov. Tens of thousands of serfs died building the city. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712.
Battle of PoltavaPoltava, Russia
The Battle of Poltava was the decisive victory of Peter the Great (Peter I of Russia) over the Swedish Empire forces under Swedish king Charles XII, in one of the battles of the Great Northern War. It marked the turning point of the war, the end of Cossack independence, the beginning of the Swedish Empire's decline as a European great power, while the Tsardom of Russia took its place as the leading nation of north-eastern Europe The battle also bears major importance in Ukrainian national history, as Hetman of Zaporizhian Host Ivan Mazepa sided with the Swedes, seeking to create an uprising in Ukraine against the tsardom.
Russo-Ottoman War of 1710–1711Brăila, Romania
Battle of StănileştiStănilești, Romania
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